Megan Sheppard gives her advice on dealing with Crohn’s disease and thrush naturally.

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Natural health: Crohn's disease and thrush

Megan Sheppard gives her advice on dealing with Crohn’s disease and thrush naturally.

Natural health: Crohn's disease and thrush

Q. My sister has recently been diagnosed as having Crohn’s disease.

She is almost 23 years old and is very petite for her age. She does tend to get whatever cold and flu is going about, and has terrible pains.

They are trying a medication for her, but I was wondering if you knew anything that can help alongside the conventional?

A. Crohn’s disease is likely to be a factor in your sister being petite (although genetics certainly need to be factored in as well!) since one of the main concerns is finding a way to ensure that nutrients are being absorbed effectively.

This condition can occur along any part of the digestive tract, and there are often healthy segments that are compromised because they are positioned between diseased segments.

Symptoms include random bouts of diarrhoea, abdominal cramping, internal ulceration, fever, rectal bleeding, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Unfortunately, we are yet to discover a common cause or cure for Crohn’s disease, although it is well known that diet and immunity are both key factors in the development of the disease.

The fact that your sister succumbs to illnesses so easily suggests that her immune system could certainly use some support.

Adopting a plant-based diet, preferably vegan and low in grains, is ideal and has allowed many people to live completely free of symptoms.

Professor Fergus Shanahan, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Cork University Hospital, states that smoking increases the risk of developing the disease in people who have a family history of Crohn’s, and will also aggravate the symptoms of existing conditions.

Comvita’s Active Manuka honey range is useful for treating internal infection and assisting in healing ulcerations of the intestinal lining.

Dietary supplements may also help your sister, so it is worth talking to her doctor or specialist about testing for specific deficiencies.

Zinc supplementation is important in boosting the immune system and also assists in the repair of damaged intestinal cells.

Zinc also plays a role in removing free radicals from the bloodstream, which have been shown to contribute to inflammation and cell damage in Crohn’s disease.

Failure to absorb iron and folic acid can also lead to anaemia, so ensure she gets plenty of food rich in these — such as green leafy vegetables and wheatgerm.

The Irish Society for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease (ISCC) provides information and support (tel: 01-8721416 or www.iscc.ie ).

Q. My daughter was recently prescribed penicillin, and as a result has ended up with a thrush infection. She is only 14 years old and is most distressed about the continual itching. Please help.

A. Thrush is a stressful condition to deal with at any age, particularly as the unbearable itching is problematic in public or any social situation.

There are pessaries, topical solutions, and even oral medications that are typically prescribed or purchased over the counter to help treat the candida imbalance, and there is also a natural solution from New Zealand that has performed very well for over 20 years now in clinical trials.

Kolorex is a range of products based on the NZ native herb, horopito (Pseudowintera colorata).

It is thought that this plant has survived largely unchanged for the last 65 million years because it has active compounds in the leaves that discourage attack from fungi — making it the ideal remedy for thrush and other candida-related problems.

The Horopito used in the Kolorex range is an organically grown sustainable crop which is tested for maximum activity levels before it is considered for use in the products.

It is available as capsules (both standard and practitioner strength), topical cream, or as a tea. Forest Herbs Kolorex is available from Noma Ltd, contact by phone on +44 2380 770 513 or email noma@complementary-medicine.com

It is also important to note that sugars, unhealthy fats, and processed foods all make the situation worse by feeding the candida organism.

Tea, coffee, diet soda, and obvious fungi foods such as mushrooms should also be removed from the diet until the overgrowth has truly cleared.

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